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Half of uninsured Americans lack confidence when selecting health plans

Enroll America finds 42 percent of those surveyed want information directly from insurers

Nearly half of uninsured Americans lack confidence when it comes to selecting the right health plan, while nearly two-thirds wish they had more information about health insurance terms, according to a recent survey from nonprofit Enroll America.

The survey, which aggregated data from nearly 1.2 million Americans after the end of open enrollment in 2015, also found that 42 percent of the uninsured want more health insurance information directly from health insurers.

Here's what else Enroll America found:

  • Marketplace enrollees expressed confidence when selecting plans. Those new to the marketplace and re-enrolling for 2015 expressed confidence that a plan would meet their needs at a rate 21 percentage points higher than the remaining uninsured population. However, 90 percent of these enrollees wanted more information on how to use their coverage.
  • Some enrollees didn't want information about health insurance. Some respondents said they already were confident when it came to selecting a plan and did not wish to receive information on health insurance terms. For instance, 42 percent said they understood the term cost-sharing, while 28 percent they understood co-insurance. It's also possible some did not want information until they actually used their coverage, Enroll America said.
  • Email had little impact on insurance literacy. During the second open enrollment period, the survey found that receiving information by email made no real difference in health insurance knowledge or enrollment status. Further, Enroll America stated that simply providing written information is not enough to increase health literacy.

Enroll America noted the importance in understanding the knowledge gaps that remain among the uninsured and newly enrolled. Additionally, it's important for insurers and the industry to define what information consumers care about regarding health insurance, and how to expose consumers during the right time and place.

For instance, UnitedHealthcare has made strides in boosting health literacy by developing its "Happiness Counts" kit. That informs seniors--via postcards, journals and other information--on how best to manage and take care of their health.

For more:
- here's the survey

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How to make health literacy work
Few exchange consumers understand basic insurance terms